Sunday, November 22, 2020

Whistle of the wind

August 2, 1972

7:21 AM
Woke up. Had to listen to the radio to find out time. Watch stopped. Checking map. Found out I missed the Great Salt Lake. Did see large body of water (noticed reflections of lights) last night but didn’t think about what it was. The weather is cool. Mountains in distance. I need shower and clean clothes. Took picture of where I slept; ate rest of the beans then on my way. Lightning in distance.

8:00 AM
On the road again. Still lightning. Turned on heater in car to take off chill. It smelled like hell. Didn’t understand it but turned it off. Raining now. Lightning a regular “light show.” Long flashing forks. Now raining like hell. Hard to see the road, but blue sky in distance.

8:20 AM
Stopped raining. Mountains are sunlit: beautiful!

8:40 AM
Passed a Black Angus Ranch. Wheat fields now with mountains on either side. Note: Dudes in Utah still have those rifle racks in their pick-ups. Doesn’t help my paranoia any. Forgot to mention: I look like a bum.

Oh! Gene Merollis commercial (great, great guy, etc.) out here are for “Gordon Wilson.” Wow!

Fence posts around here look like home-made from bent trees. So different from, say, Wyoming. Back to huge wheat fields and grazing lands.

9:00 AM
Stopped for a picture of the land (just had to!) Had to switch roads – missed by turn, but then corrected and back on the way. On hwy 28 – few horses, range and wheat fields. Trying to think of word for countryside. Serene would be best, I think. Listening to KRUX (Salt Lake City). Now all range with small pines and sage-brush. 74 degrees.

9:40 AM
Gannison City. Another typical Western town. Back on the road – more farms. Some of the hills are just giant sand piles. It looks like very little vegetation on them. Getting so good at driving with my left foot on the gas may take it up for good. (The only way to avoid severe leg cramps is to alternate.)

9:55 AM
Salina, Utah. Mountains in distance have red tops. Mountains here are beautiful; not the majestic high mountains like the Tetons, but they vary in color from white to deep red, with steep cliffs on some and others just seemingly immense sand piles. (Note: while they are lovely, they wreck radio reception.)

10:15 AM
Made it to Richfield. Sign says, “Free swimming”, and it would be a chance to get clean again. Stopped for gas. Oh, forget swimming. I have to get moving.

10:45 AM
Completely surrounded by mountains. Running parallel to the (typist note: name illegible) River. Pretty, but not the clear blue like the rivers in Yellowstone. Ten minutes later, saw the Big Rock Candy Mountain. Pretty yellow and reds, but looks more like ice cream.

Passed entrance to Puitte State Park.

Now have seen third letter on a mountain-side. Can’t figure out what they are for, but have seen huge white letters E, M and P so far. Weird.

11:30 AM
Passed the home of Butch Cassidy. Little log cabin. KSUB out of Cedar City (not rock). Mountains still varied and interesting.

11:50 AM
Have been back into range country with herds of cattle and flocks of sheep. Now in Panguitch. Large amount of smoke to the right of town; but no sirens or commotion. May just be burning off fields. Passed Bryce Canyon National Park.

12:15 PM
83 degrees. Passed more cattle. Pines getting taller. I’m laughing about an obscene song I just made up. Mountains and hill sides are still red and pink.

12:30 PM
Stopped at rest area for lunch and rest room. Couldn’t stop to write about it, but just went thru hill. Roadway was cut out and steep sides had signs warning of falling rocks. Ate some chicken salad sandwich (1st “spreadables” that wasn’t bad) and a Pepsi.

12:55 PM
Heading out again. At rest area I met a little old man who told me his brother was responsible for this whole stretch of road. I agree that that was wonderful, and we parted as friends.

Beautiful cliffs and rocks shot through with red colors. Just rounded a circle and bam! Tall mountains with flat tops and red rock cliffs. Fantastic wind-carved cliffs. 100 miles to the Grand Canyon. Pink rocks, pink cliffs and even pink sand on the ground.

1:20 PM
Stopped for picture of sand and mountains (had to, had to!) Hope color comes out. Picked up small rock. Went by the Monqui Cave. Again, everything in the car is hotter than hell. Saw Kanab Canyon. Again, words fail. Water in Kanab Creek looks pink from sand.

1:45 PM
Stopped for gas. Attendant said left front tire out of line and was tearing up tire. Said I couldn’t make it home, so why not like them fix it? Thanked him politely and headed out. 92 degrees and hot!

1:50 PM
Arizona! The Grand Canyon State! Still red sand, mountains in distance. So hot in car, I can’t catch my breath.

2:15 PM
Kaibab National Forest. (More rocks than trees and trees all scrub pines and very short.) Keep going up. Hard on car. Very few clouds in sky. Just blue everywhere and hot!

2:25 PM
Trees getting taller. Most are about the size of mom’s but have more scotch-like pine needles. Smokie the bear signs are everywhere.

Now the trees are more like you would expect in a forest. No visible underbrush, so forest looks like park with short grass. Birch trees are now mixed with pines, and I’m passing thru a clearing. Sign says all campsites filled by early afternoon. Hope not before I get there. Car is backfiring on hills; I am backfiring from bean breakfast.

Now passing thru another valley; this is mostly grass, no sagebrush. Listening to KPEG radio and am 23 miles from North River.

3:10 PM
Now signs say campgrounds past this point are filled at 10 am. Will need some luck, I guess. Cattle grazing here and there throughout the forest. Now leaving the National Forest, and entering Grand Canyon National Park. Campgrounds are all filled.

4:00 PM
Stopped at Point Imperial. I must confess I was annoyed till now. Not only are all the campgrounds filled and I’ll have to drive back 50 miles, but until now, all I’ve seen were the trees. And, while trees can be lovely, I was looking for a “Grand Canyon.” Well. Now I found it… Again, words are useless. Took three pictures at Point Imperial. Wish kids could see this (along with Yellowstone). Maybe someday. (Well, it took me twenty-three years before I could.) Wind is not really strong, but you can hear it in the pines. Smells great.



Oh, forgot to mention – an artist was sitting on the ground painting the scene I just took pictures of. Painting looking pretty good. (Oil paints) Coasted to bottom from the top of Point Imperial (2.8 miles) could have gone farther, but came to a stop sign and that was that. Only sound was whistle of the wind. Peaceful.

4:40 PM
Stopped at unnamed “Scenic View” for one picture.

4:50 PM
Stopped at Indian Ruins and overlook. Took picture of the Canyon and one of the Ruins (see pamphlet) Pueblo Indians lived in these houses over 800 years ago.


5:10 PM
At Cape Royal. Whew! If you think bridges are bad you should try the last half mile of this road. Damn scared! Very informative walkside boards pointed out varieties of plants, trees and animals here. Got 2 pictures of canyon and one of “Angel’s Window”, a rock formation. Note: if they show in picture, check out the people on top the rock. I was out there look for a good shot. Now planning my way home. No “Trip-Tik” for that. Good luck! (Good grief!)



5:55 PM
Headed down the winding road. I worked out a plan to get to Phoenix.

5:40 PM
Leaving Grand Canyon National Park. Note: Lost another hour when I entered Arizona. Guess I’m on Pacific time, but I don’t really know. Backtracking now thru the Kaibab Nat. Forest.

6:10 PM
Stopped for gas and post cards. (43¢ for regular, Donna!)

6:45 PM
Had to stop for deer on the road. Grabbed camera, but she was gone. There are little birds here and there along the road & they just will not move! I’ve gone around some, and seen some dead too. Reminds me of Duke. Sign says 7 miles of mountain curves and grades.

7:10 PM
Again, beautiful scenery in mountains. Can’t help myself, got to stop for picture… Yah, you guessed it, took two. Sun going down behind mountains, but all the cliffs are still lit and are bright red and pinks. Unbelievable.


Trucking along Hwy 89 at 65 mph. Ears still haven’t popped from coming down out of the mountains, so everything seems like it’s really quiet. Wind noise is soft. Windows still down as it’s quite warm yet. Chasing two chicks in a Cortina just for grins.

Red mountains on either side were homes of the cliff dwellers, sign says.

7:45 PM
Stopped just before entering the Navajo Indian Reservation. (Another bridge, damnit!) Took picture of Colorado River, which caused the Grand Canyon. Note: Supposedly, at no point in the Grand Canyon Park can you see the river (weird). Oh, girls turned off to get gas in case you were interested.

Anyway, Amy, going into Indian Territory.

Night. Still miles and miles of towering red cliffs. Can almost imagine Indians living up there. Still hotter than hell. I think I’m in part of the Painted Desert.

Listening to KOMA, Oklahoma! Only thing I could find. They say it’s ten o’clock. Here it’s eight.

9:05 PM
Stopped at state inspection center. (What for? I’ll found out.) Inspected for fruits, citrus fruits or live plants. Passed. Moving on.

11:30 PM
Here at Flagstaff, Arizona. Stopped at one motel: full. Stopped at Burger Chef to eat late supper. Again, have missed all the scenery in the dark. Saw just 1st part of Indian Reservation, for example.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Tales from the Blog: There was a lot I didn't write down

The opening shot on this one with the Vega and lake is my favorite. I am unsure if it was purposeful or a happy accident but it feels very Vanishing Point.

The boulder in Tower Falls eventually fell in June of 1986. I was unable to locate a specific date and it does not appear that the event was witnessed. This information was in the linked article but I am unsure if anyone would click through and it felt worth mentioning since the question was asked.

KID radio in Idaho Falls is now a talk/news station.

When looking at the mountains/peaks near Pocatello, I was able to find Wild Horse but not "Kemp Fort" or the unnamed one. Wild Horse is about a mile south of Kinport which looks/sounds close enough such that it is probably what he noted as "Kemp Fort." Two miles north of Kinport is an unnamed peak. Both Wild Horse and the unnamed peak's line and proximate parents are Kinport. Outlier possibilities are Howard Mountain (four miles north of Kinport and same lineage) and Gibson Mountain (three miles south of Kinport but different lineage).

This week's main mystery was the location of the rest area in Utah. Of the rest areas that exist in the region that were around in 1972, both are east of Salt Lake City on I-84. Time and distance of entries should have placed it south of SLC on I-15 near Draper. I spent a good bit of time on Utah's DOT site, as well as searching old atlases, newspapers and travel guides. I eventually found an article on Utah's Deseret News site from 1995 regarding the closure of a rest area near exit 279 on I-15. It was approximately 10 miles south of the Draper exits and fits within the timeline. I located an aerial photograph from 1984 which appears to show a south and northbound rest area off exit 278. I reached out to some very helpful folks at UDOT who confirmed there was a location south of exit 279 and, "he did believe it was a photo of that rest area." (Thanks!)

Lastly, we were forced to use Bing Maps this week, as Google refused to route along the Grand Loop outside of Yellowstone Lake. When I went back to update the map's destination, even Bing refused to use the Grand Loop. My understanding is usage of this road is seasonal, so perhaps it is closed or nearing so.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

There was a lot I didn’t write down

August 1, 1972

8:40 AM
Woke up cold on face and shoulders. Rest of me was cozy. Windows all wet from me breathing last night (so I shouldn’t have?) Still can see your breath. Running the car with the heater on. Had cigarette for breakfast. Too cold to cook out there. Washed very little in a john (again cold water only). Wished I brought the jacket Fran gave me. Checking maps for places to see.

9:00 AM
Heading out for the “Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.” Again, wish you could see this. Motoring thru tall pines with the calm Yellowstone Lake on the right. The mountains on its far shore are snow covered, and touch the clouds. (Ok, I’m a poet, eh? So I’ll take a picture and show you! Took two.) (The hell with you!) Don’t mind no radio, just digging all this. Just ran into more road construction; they are doing a lot of it. Just fantastic scenery! People fishing in big red waders in still, mirror-like water.


9:25 AM
Stopped to see mud volcanoes (2 pictures) Note: here and there throughout the park you see smoke that looks like a large or sometime small fire. It’s just from these thermal pool areas.


Took one picture of “Dragon’s Mouth.” Black steaming mud and water bubble out of a pool covered with stinking steam. I hope the picture comes out. The other was just a small mud hole with no stream to show what it looks like. Sulfur makes water black, so place smells like hell both figuratively and literally. One pool I didn’t take picture of was green water, bubbling like someone dumped in a truck-load of Alka-Seltzer. Oh! The average degree of the water is 191 in Dragon’s Mouth. This was created by a fissure in the earth in just 1947-48. (Note: had to hike to top of hill to see best ones – 9 in all – and was puffing like a locomotive. Was really ashamed. Cigarettes for breakfast not such a good idea. 

Moving on…

Entering Hayden Valley. Grizzly country. More road construction. Passed a couple more sulfur pits (can’t stop for everything, but wish I could.) Did I mention that I refilled my collapsible water jug? Water here tastes great! Passed Elk Horn Creek and Trout Creek. Fishing here is supposed to be great, so I bet Terry would like it.

10:10 AM
Stopped at Artist’s Point. Took three pictures. 2 of falls, one of canyon. Getting warmer.



10:30 AM
Stopped at Upper Falls. You will note have stopped all descriptive phrases. Have overworked words like beautiful, fantastic, etc. till they seem trite. If pictures turn out they can speak for themselves. Oh, took 2 pictures, one just before Upper Falls, and one of falls. Another hike, another bursting lungs. This body is a wreck!


10:50 AM
Got picture of a bear. Looked like a hobo, just sitting on the side of the road.

11:15 AM
Stopped to take picture of Mt. Washburn, ele. 10,243 ft. (two pines in pic.) and one general view of mountains.


11:25 AM
Stopped to take picture at Tower Falls. There’s a boulder right in the middle at the top. The question is: how soon will it fall? Forgot to mention: re: waterfalls: you can hear them long before you can see them. A pleasant sound.

11:35 AM
Stopped at Calcite Springs Area & took picture of it. Pic may not show it, but area was once thermal and puffs of steam still come out of banks. Getting real lesson in walking. Clouding over.

11:40 AM
Starting to rain. Stopped for gas. Gas here (as all along the way a real rip-off) 40¢ for regular!

12:00 PM
Rain stopped, sun out.

12:25 PM
Stopped at Mammouth Hot Springs. Walked 15 minutes up a Nature trail only to find a parking lot on top! Springs are everchanging lime deposits made by hot water. Nine (I think) pictures. They say that deposits in the 30s are now ruins. I put my hand in the water at base. About like a hot bath.








1:40 PM
Raining again. Stopped in town to mail post-cards.

2:10 PM
Heading out. Rain stopped; sunny again. Passing thru Willow Park. Supposed to have moose. Didn’t see any. Wait! Now I did. Small herd in distance. Too far for good picture.

2:50 PM
Saw first accident in park. (Not serious.) Have been passing up small steamholes and geysers and a small waterfall because it’s getting late. Looks like rain again.

3:02 PM
Stopped at Gibbon Falls. 1 picture of falls, 1 picture of bird and squirrel eating on a rock. Saw mule deer feeding, couldn’t stop.


3:45 PM
Old Faithful. Picked up two girls who work as maids at hotel in Old Faithful complex. Picked them up about 15 miles back. Had to rearrange half the car to put both of them in, but it was worth it to talk to someone. Said you could get jobs here easily. Both were from Washington (state). When I mentioned cold they said that’s nothing, that it had snowed in July this year and in the winter they can’t even dig out most of the roads here.

Went over to the geyser, it had stopped. Next act 60 to 90 minutes away. Thundering and lightning, then rain just started as I took the most uninspiring picture of Old Faithful ever. Got back in my car as rain hit. Making another brief supper; 1 tuna sandwich and some cold beans. Back on the road, didn’t stop at Geyser Basins because of the rain.

4:45 PM
Rain stopped, but skies still overcast.

5:05 PM
Left Yellowstone. In a word: awed. Determined to go back when I have more time. Now back to reality. Heading south on Hwy 20 in Montana.

5:15 PM
Entered Gallatin National Forest. Trees everywhere. (What else?) Terrible headache for last couple of hours. Didn’t take any aspirins with me.

Montana’s famous “Big Sky” is covered with big clouds. Lots of saddle ranches around. Still surrounded by mountains. No illusions about next 115+ mikes. I have to get to the freeway and find a rest area by tonight. Oh, yes. I crossed the Continental Divide again (stupid thing). Stuck behind 2 camper pickups for the last umpteen miles. Can’t get a chance to pass.

5:30 PM
In Idaho. Sky clearing. Misjudged the Cont. Divide. I crossed it at the state line. Am in the Targhee National Forest. Still pines, still mountainous, only the name has changed. One thing different. This has telephone poles. Got used to Yellowstone not having any. These look junky. Radio back. KID out of Idaho Falls, Idaho. Passed the trucks.

5:40 PM
Now on plains. Mountains & pines in far distance.

5:47 PM
Spoke too soon; back into pines. Heard Rick Nelson’s song again. Had the name wrong before, but really dig it. Using a Wash & Dri to get the gunk off my face.

Saw a little old man with long flowing grey hair and an Indian hat walking down the road. Not hitchhiking, just walking. No houses around for miles.

6:10 PM
Left the Targhee Forest. Going down long grade. Now into plains again. 6 min. later passed Ashton, Idaho.

6:30 PM
Finally can’t see the majestic three Tetons anymore. Crossed Henry’s Fork of the Snake River. Going thru St. Anthony & following a state cop. He finally turned off. 37 miles to Idaho Falls.

6:40 PM
Sign says “Entering Idaho Potato Country”

6:55 PM
Radio says 78 degrees. Oh, oh. Bridge ahead… It was the Snake River again.

7:05 PM
Stopped and took picture of Idaho. To my shame, father, I can’t pick out a field of potatoes. Only two rolls of film left.

7:25 PM
Idaho Falls. Got on Interstate 15. Hope they have rest areas. Shaking all the small towns. Speed limit 70 and trucking! Now see field after field of potatoes with huge sprinklers (I figured out what a potato field looks like.) Took picture.

7:40 PM
Headache still killing me. Found rest area – bad again. Nothing like near home. Two outhouses and some picnic tables. (Outhouse terrible) Only interesting thing is that area here is all hardened lava. Right back on road.

Lots of bugs here. Windshield looks like it was raining and I washed it at last rest area. Really “bugs” me! (urrgghh!)

8:00 PM
Reached Blackfoot, Idaho and Fort Hall Indian Reservation. Running into strong winds and dust. Coming up to more mountains.

8:20 PM
Stopped at Pocatello, Idaho for gas; found a McDonalds. Hurray! Hope it’s better than that A&W.

8:35 PM
Leaving. Still need gas. Big Mac great. Filet of fish lousy. (win some, lose some) Can’t believe it! Stopped at gas station and it was 30¢ for regular. Wow! Asked about mountains. Said no range name, but there are three: Wild Horse Mt., Kemp Fort Mt. and he didn’t know the other. Then, back to x-way. 

P.S. Have officially caught a cold.

Back in mountains again. 158 miles to Salt Lake City. Again fantastic scenery. Mountains on either side; sun has set, but pink clouds still to be seen. Rest of sky is medium to deep blue. No cars but mine on my side of hwy.

9:30 PM
Dark now. Tired as hell. Head is killing me. Body aches. Windshield covered with bugs. Can’t see the page to write on lines.

10:30 PM
66 miles to Salt Lake. Car running hot again. Brake handle hot to touch. Tired as hell. Got to keep going, no place to sleep. Can’t tell what countryside looks like: can’t see it. Stars out. Am on another x-way. Wow, I’m tired. I could swear I passed the same truck twice.

11:40 PM
Salt Lake City, Utah. Found a Texaco Station; got gas. I know that the previous pages will be hard to read, but not only was I tried and sore, but it’s hard to write when car is moving 70 mph and it’s too dark to see pages.

12:00 AM
Found rest area. Before I say goodnight, I would like to say there was a lot I didn’t write down, plus I couldn’t see a lot. Sorry about that.